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More Christian Poetry
From Wayne o’Conner
PRIORITIES: WHO OR WHAT?
Make the Lord your top priority and He will supply the finances and empower you to serve in His ministry. Make the ministry your top priority and you will have to supply your own finances and empower your ministry by flattery, manipulation, soul power, showmanship and programs.
TO OTHER SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE, LIKE MYSELF, scattered throughout the world, but connected by His Blood and Spirit. WHETHER WE WALK IN THE CITIES
OR REMOTE RURAL PLACES
AROUND THE GLOBE, WE ARE A PECULIAR PEOPLE, foreigners in a strange land,
WHOSE ABODE IS REALLY THE HEAVENLY REALMS.
Jesus leads us beside still waters and feeds us the Manna of Heaven, giving us seasons in His cities of refuge, as He prepares us to be sent on journeys to various climates and cultures, from tropical islands and sandy deserts, to asphalt jungles and icy villages. Fraught with dangers and teeming with temptations, the journey is rarely easy. Jesus is our shepherd and so we wander. While to some it may appear aimless, to those who listen, they hear the sweet refrains of John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (NKJV) Welcome.
Come rest and refresh yourself today and tonight, for tomorrow is for the journey, and who knows, except our Lord, what that day shall bring?
Religion and Breakfast
(FROM A DREAM ON 5.28.09)
I try not to walk too far ahead of You. I try not to walk too far behind. Trusting that You will edit my life and finish what You've started gives me hope to stay the course. My mind may try. My flesh may try. And the wanting is important, for willingness is the way. That and a loving, trusting, eager heart
that longs for a genuine relationship with Jesus. In my dream I was sharing this poem with a salt and pepper haired couple as they fed me breakfast, but as I read aloud, they smiled at one another and winked at me in their thoughts. Finally the woman said, “Nice words, but that's just not the way it works. But it is 'tween dawn and noon! One day you will grow up. Then you will know, that just as Sunday is the Lord's, every morning, until exactly 12 noon, is His, too!” “Every day is the Lords and every hour,” I said. “We are but stewards of our time, just like we should be stewards of what He has given.” Grandma and Grandpa Religion smiled indulgently as they munched wheat toast with raspberry jam. “Wouldn't it be better,” I asked, “to have a relationship with Him every day and every hour? I enjoy talking with the Lord anytime, day or night. I don't need a special time!
Throughout the day I pray or talk with Him about what I think, see or hear. Have you ever considered that?” The old man chuckled. I heard a faint pop as he sucked in his last bit of boiled egg. “What a silly notion!” crooned the old lady with a smile. She crunched her turkey bacon, then shook her head at me. I was just about to say, There is a difference between following a set of religious laws and having a relationship with Jesus Christ. But I bit my tongue and said to my self, I've said enough for now. It is much better to keep them in prayer and love them, than rile their religion. Better to lose the battle and win the war. Lyrics from an old chorus came to mind, “The battle is the Lord's Praise God and the victory is ours.” If we fight battles in His name, but independently of Him, even if we seem to win, it may count as mere wood, hay and stubble. I sipped my cider– sweet n' tart - and said no more. When I awoke from my dream I pondered what I had just seen. WTO 5.28.09
When Jesus was 12 He confounded the religious elite of His day by answering questions about the Torah, and from the Prophets, with depth and scope and undeniable mastery. Jesus even answered questions with wisdom superlatively beyond His years that religious leaders were unsure about. For years he walked the dusty streets, as a dual son, Son of God and Son of Man, meeting the best and the worst of society. Jesus visited the temple and rubbed shoulders with those who acknowledged or worshiped His Father – some with their lips only and others with their hearts as well. Jesus reached the age of 30 and began His ministry. Once again He confused and confounded the religious elite of His time with His enigmatic words and actions. During His ministry Jesus showed great compassion, to the poor, lame, hungry, unclean
and demonized – Israeli and foreign. And yet Jesus was very harsh with most religious leaders, calling them white washed sepulchers, sons of the Devil, viperous, and blind guides. Whenever possible He actively sought to break the traditions of the elders. Yet Jesus lived, breathed, and exemplified, with great precision, the scriptures and very nature of God. When it came time to choose His disciples, Jesus did not use the tried and true techniques of the elite religious leaders. Jesus did not choose the brightest students and place them on an advanced education track for the chosen few, to memorize The Torah, The Prophets and The Talmud. Jesus did not have the best of the best, following long years of intensive study, follow Him around for yet longer years, and then pick one to mentor at His side for a still longer time. Jesus did not say, as the religious teachers of His time, “Now you have achieved your goal: Go be a Jewish Guru! Enjoy your own following and one protégé.” What did Jesus do instead? He went to the highways and byways! He found those who were deemed misfits. Unworthy of going on to higher religious learning. And He asked them! Right away!
Jesus chose ignorant fisherman who had been sent home to work for their relatives, rather than go onto higher learning. He chose a tax collector who was socially anathema – considered contagiously unclean, to all but prostitutes and other tax collectors. When He had chosen the twelve Apostles of the Jewish Nation, none of them would have been considered “worthy material.” After that, Jesus went once again, to the highways and byways, and said, “Come follow me.” To the poor. To the social outcasts, both ignorant and well-tutored. To foreigners and prostitutes. To the unloved and the unlovely. When the religious elite and those who had the first right of redemption ignored or scorned Him, what did His Father say? God said, “Go to the highways and byways and compel them to come in, that My House may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Jesus warned the Chosen that their vineyard would be taken away and given to another nation who would harvest its fruits. Once more Jesus went to the highways and byways
seeking half gentiles and gentiles. Later he sent his disciples, not only to the Jews, but to all nations. Two thousand years later and in a foreign land I call home, My Lord took me out of the places considered to be modern temples of Jehovah places where saints and religious pretenders blended like water and oil. I became as one born in the wrong time, never truly fitting in, until He took me along the path less trod. He led me along the highways and the byways. I became a stranger in a strange land, but I also found others who loved Jesus. Others unique and out of sync with contemporary religious tradition. He said, like His father about Abraham of old, “I will be your great treasure and I will be your friend.” Was I worthy of such an honor: No, yet he chose me, before I was in my mother's womb. I became another peculiar person who lived on earth, but whose true place of citizenship was in the heavenly realms. . .
Like a coin has two sides, Highways and byways Christians, can be seen in two lights: as ones misunderstood,
outcasts to many, and not what most Christians – traditional or untraditional would consider to be “good Christian material” or as ones who have a right heart despite a variety of issues or odd ways, chosen by God to be ambassadors of Christ, who step to the rhythm of a different tune, who confound the wise of this world: Christian, religious or pagan. wto – 7.15.09